ANNAPOLIS — Coming soon to a dinner plate near you: snakeheads. Rockfish Restaurant in Annapolis hosted on Tuesday a charity cook-off of the invasive fish indigenous to Asia that grabbed local headlines in 2002 when it first appeared in the area.
Nine chefs from Maryland and Washington, D.C., prepared six different courses, four of which featured snakehead, a fish known to actually crawl on land.
“No one in the country should be eating [snakeheads], just because of the fact that they shouldn’t be here in the first place,” said Chad Wells, the executive chef of Alewife in D.C. “But now that they are here we have to take advantage of it, and the best way to get rid of them is to be eating them.”
John Rorapaugh, the director of sustainability at Pro Fish, a Washington, D.C., seafood company and sponsor of the event, said the cook-off was about more than just good food. “We definitely need to push the local seafood thing. It’s raising awareness, we’re all fisherman with our company and we’re very into the environment and when we found out there was something we could do, [we put] both feet in,” he said.
Three hundred pounds of snakehead were caught in the 2011 Potomac Snakehead Tournament held over Labor Day Weekend and used to feed the more than 100 people that showed up for the event.
At $100 a ticket, the cook-off not only helped protect Maryland’s waterways from the invasive fish, but also raised $5,000 for the Annapolis-based non-profit Oyster Recovery Partnership.